Software as a service or SaaS is a technology made available for use within the cloud computing service that help businesses network or communicate effectively and at reasonable costs. SaaS is growing in popularity with projected sales levels to double by 2015 from the $10 billion reported in 2010 (Wikipedia, 2014). So, what exactly is SaaS by definition, and how does it distribute on a multi-tenant architecture? There are advantages and disadvantages to this service, but it does offer a few application types for businesses such as an all-in-one business package, social network applications, email capabilities, and analytics. The future trends include hybrid SaaS applications, global outlook, and possible vertical integration of SaaS. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate software as a service, along with its functions, looking towards emerging trends involved with this technological service.
WHAT IS SAAS?
Wikipedia (2014) defines software as a service as, “a software delivery mode in which software and associated data are centrally hosted on the cloud by independent software vendors or application service providers.” However, SaaS originates from SOA, a service-oriented architecture or form of grid computing (McLellan, 2013). SOA is an architectural platform that combines businesses as linked tasks or services (IBM, n.d.). Then, in the 90’s, application service providers gave businesses hosting services and application management while reducing costs from central administrators and solution providers (Wikipedia, 2014). When ASP’s began, they worked to manage and host independent software vendors, but SaaS vendors manage their own software (Wikipedia, 2014). Today’s SaaS relies on the internet, whereas in the past it relied on software downloads (Wikipedia, 2014). In simpler terms, a descriptive explanation of SaaS is as follows, a facility used by consumers that protects privacy while providing reliable, secure services on a grand scale (Salesforce, n.d.).
The distribution of SaaS, for the majority of service providers, is through a multi-tenant architecture that offers a single centralized location for obtaining an infrastructure or code base (Salesforce, n.d.). Tenant stands for the consumer, so it’s a single platform where code is kept for use by more than one consumer. Under multi-tenant architecture, installation of applications on more than one device provided by a method called horizontal scaling (Wikipedia, 2014).
Figure 1 is a visual explanation of how SaaS works:
Illustration provided by ZDNet
PROS AND CONS
Using software as a service on the cloud can provide advantages to businesses, as well as disadvantages. Some of the advantages are savings, convenience, and the expansion of business. SaaS can provide businesses savings through a simple requirement of a connection to the internet in order to access specific programs. There is nothing to install or any software to download, and users don’t...